Letter: Rebuild democracy by engaging with neighbors

Published: 3/3/2021 12:01:17 AM

Democracy means “the people rule.” As citizens of a democracy, we have the right and also the responsibility to govern ourselves, our democracy’s publicly owned institutions and privately owned commercial enterprises. Doing this effectively requires more than just voting on Election Day.

We citizens often neglect our responsibility to pay close attention to what’s happening in government. New remote public hearings at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ enhance our firsthand access to state government. We citizens should be delighted by this improvement to our ability to monitor and testify during committee deliberations on legislation, and rail against any attempts to curtail it, even after the pandemic subsides.

Today’s problems are manifold and complex; no simple solution is a cure-all. Yet we face a daily flood of sound bites, secondhand artful persuasion, contradictory “facts,” paid spokespeople shilling for monied interests, distracting pundits insisting passionately that their issue is “the only issue that should matter to you right now.” If this flood succeeds in making us citizens feel angry, worn down, misled or disillusioned, and we withdraw and disengage from our responsibility to be active participants in our democracy, they have succeeded in wresting our power from us.

Regain your power by switching off the pundits and engaging instead with your friends and neighbors. Get to know your community better, exchange ideas about “the greatest good” for your community. Testify in support or opposition to bills being deliberated in public hearings. Stay strong. Involve other people. Help rebuild our democracy!



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